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Cardinals all-time Scrabble leaders by decade

The appearance of St. Louis Cardinals reliever Marc Rzepczynski during Wednesday’s opening night national television broadcast occurred at a key juncture of the 4-1 win over the Miami Marlins.

The left-hander with the long name relieved Fernando Salas with two out in the eighth after first base umpire Angel Hernandez missed an clear double play call at first base that should have ended the inning. “Scrabble” fanned right-handed pinch-hitter Austin Kearns for the third out, earning a hold in the process.

Inspired by Rzepczynski and those who preceded him, this article is the final installment of what evolved into a four-part series celebrating the top Scrabble-scoring Cardinals surnames by decade. The current and 12 previous ten-year periods are represented by a dozen players. Pitcher Pete Vuckovich is the only repeater as the leader in two decades – the 1970’s and 80’s.

All-Time Scrabble leaders by decade, St. Louis Cardinals

Decade Points Player
1890s 25 Ossee Schreckongost
1900s 24 Irv Higginbotham
1910s 22 Fritz Mollwitz
1920s 23 Walt Huntzinger
1930s 22 Ken Raffensberger
1940s 26 Johnny Grodzicki
1950s 30 Ed Mierkowicz
1960s 26 Ken MacKenzie
1970s 26 Pete Vuckovich
1980s 26 Pete Vuckovich
1990s 25 Jose Jimenez
2000s 27 Mark Grudzielanek
2010s 30 Marc Rzepczynski

We see many names here from the Cardinals all-time All-Scrabble team, but a handful of new names as well, especially in the first three decades of the previous century.

Right-hander Irv Higginbotham pitched in 29 games in 1906, 1908 and 1909. First baseman Fritz Mollwitz, born in Germany, concluded his seven-year major league career with 25 games with the 1919 Cards.  Right-hander Walt Huntzinger was winless over 34 innings pitched for the 1926 Cardinals.

The other new name in the all-decade team is Jose Jimenez. The right-handed pitcher is most known for one very eventful game during which the then-25-year-old accomplished a feat that Kyle Lohse chased into the seventh inning on Wednesday in Miami.

On Friday, June 25, 1999 in Phoenix’ Bank One Ballpark, the rookie Jimenez threw a no-hitter against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the process, he bested soon-to-be 1999 Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson. The Big Unit also spun a complete game, allowing just one run on five hits.

Though Jimenez would win just 24 games in parts of seven Major League seasons, he will always top the career 303 game-winner and future Hall of Famer Johnson in one very important stat – 25 Scrabble points to just 17.

Earlier posts in this series:
Scoring the Cardinals Scrabble (current major and minor league players)
Before Rzepczynski came Mierkowicz (all-time Cardinals)
Cardinals all-time All-Scrabble team (by position)

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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10 Responses to “Cardinals all-time Scrabble leaders by decade”

  1. friendmouse says:

    The 60’s and 90’s were boring decades, in terms of Scrabbliciousness, wouldn’t you say? Ken MacKenzie dominates the 60’s?…that’s sad. Sort of.

  2. Brian Walton says:

    Agreed. Before I ran the numbers, I thought Red might have made a showing, but like Izzy and several others, he has more quantity than high-scoring consonants.

  3. blingboy says:

    I’m encouraged to read that the non-prospect might get a shot. Well deserved, IMO. Let Martemania begin!!

    • crdswmn says:

      I saw where Linebrink is injured. I wonder when that happened?

      I imagine there will be renewed cries to bring up Sanchez. The fact that they chose Marte instead suggests they do have some issues with Sanchez that they want addressed first.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Wow, I am elated about the opportunity for Victor Marte. And his callup says a lot about the Cards.

    Marte signed as a kid out of Puerto Plata, on the north shore of the DR, also home to Oscar.
    He was signed by the KC Royals, but booted out of pro ball in April 2002, because of a “contract violation.” Maybe he told a whopper about his age or name or something, I dunno. He was just a kid trying to make his way up in the world.

    Barred from the minors, Marte played some ball in Japan, but not a great deal. He maybe threw 40 innings across 2006-8 for the Hiroshima team, iirc. Finally in his late 20s, Victor gets a chance to re-sign with the KC Royals and he pitched AAA in 2009 and 2010. Its a very unusual career path, without a lot of pro experience.

    The Cards were short on relievers at Memphis a year ago, so made a trade for Marte and he excelled. He is about 260 pounds, a load, about 31, without many pro innings for his age.

    This spring, Marte was the final cut among pitchers. So clearly the Cards like him a lot. They were pretty much trapped into selecting Linebrink over Marte in spring training, because Linebrink has so much ML experience. Yet Marte’s spring training stats were better.

    The Cards let bonus baby Ottavino look for a home elsewhere and instead have given opportunity to the low profile Marte. We like low profile guys who are hungry to perform. He got the job done for Maloney at Memphis last year. Marte may have a champion on the coaching staff. We don’t care if Marte did not get a lot of prospect hype.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Marte reminds me a bit of our old friend Al Reyes. Reyes was a journeyman, bouncing up and down between the majors and AAA for 10 years. The Cards gave him at shot in 2005 and he had a great season, at age 35. After an injury, Reyes then had a great 2007 for the Tampa Rays and made a bit of money I hope.

      Marte has not been around AAA and the majors anywhere near as much. But he may not have as much wear and tear on his arm, to his benefit. If Marte could perform like Reyes, it would be a great and heartwarming story of a long-shot overcoming incredible odds.

  5. blingboy says:

    Guess we got played by Linebrink.

    Colby went Ofer 7ABs last night.

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